Re: RARA-AVIS: 65.000 words

From: Allan Guthrie (
Date: 24 Nov 2009

  • Next message: Juri Nummelin: "RARA-AVIS: Short books"

    'Padding' won't fool anybody. Strengthen it by all means. Add an extra point of view, more drama, more obstacles, etc.

    Short books get published all the time. I've agented several novels under 60,000 words. Yes, some publishers won't consider them. And many of those who will consider them will still see the length as a possible disadvantage. Particularly hardcover publishers. Others don't mind, though. The shortest novel I've agented successfully was 48,000 (sold to a major UK publisher for mass market paperback). It's definitely easier (ie there are more options) if it's longer. 60,000 (as a final draft with all the flab removed) is a good length to aim for.

    Equating it to a feature film: 60,000 words is like a 90-page script. Still on the short side, but not enough to be an instant rejection. Although if you're Walter Hill, you only need 70 pages.


    > ----- Original Message -----
    > From:
    > To:
    > Sent: Monday, November 23, 2009 19:29
    > Subject: Re: RARA-AVIS: 65.000 words
    > thank you, Charles. I'll just write the best book that I can and then see
    > what the word count turns out to be. if I'm short at that time, should I
    > consider padding or take my chances? will a shorter manuscript preclude me
    > from even getting read?
    > John Lau
    > "You may have the watches, but we have the time." - Afghan proverb

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